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Five dead in L.A. County traffic accidents over holiday weekend

A fiery crash on the 110 Freeway and several other traffic accidents have claimed the lives of five people on Los Angeles County streets and highways so far over the Labor Day weekend, authorities said.

A motorcyclist was killed Sunday in a crash on Topanga Canyon Boulevard near the Pacific Coast Highway about 2:30 p.m., the California Highway Patrol reported. The victim was pronounced dead at a  hospital. Investigators were still on the scene, and no further details were available.

Also, a man died early Sunday when he was trapped under a flaming 1971 Chevy Monte Carlo that had been stopped on the shoulder of the southbound 110 Freeway near 52nd Street.

The 2:40 a.m. incident began when the 18-year-old driver of a 2008 Smart car slowed to avoid rear-ending a vehicle directly ahead, swerved onto the right shoulder and struck the Monte Carlo. Both vehicles burst into flames.

The Monte Carlo rolled over and fatally injured one of three men who had been standing near the car after it had broken down, the CHP reported. Two other victims were taken to hospitals, one in critical condition and one with lesser injuries.

The driver of the Smart car sustained scrapes and was arrested on suspicion of second-degree murder and driving under the influence, the CHP said. Names of the suspect and victims were not released.

About 11 p.m. Saturday, a pickup truck driven by a 17-year-old male overturned on the 710 Freeway, killing a female passenger and injuring three others. The accident occurred in the northbound lanes just south of the 91 Freeway, the CHP reported. No names were released.

A 23-year-old man driving a Honda Accord died late Saturday when he hit a power pole and tree on Somerset Ranch Road near Paramount Boulevard in South Gate.  

The accident occurred about 10:50 p.m. when the driver exited the 105 Freeway at a high rate of speed, collided with another vehicle and slammed into the pole and tree, said South Gate Police Sgt. Mario Saldivar.

The driver was pronounced dead at the scene. A female passenger was in stable condition at a hospital with minor injuries. No names were released.

And a 43-year-old Irvine man was killed while trying to cross the eastbound lanes of the 101 Freeway after crashing his car near Laurel Canyon Boulevard about 9:40 p.m. Saturday, officials said.

The man had been driving west in a black Lexus when he drifted off the shoulder, struck a guardrail and came to rest in the number one lane, the CHP reported.

He got out of the car, tried to run across the freeway and was hit by a BMW driven by a 76-year-old Encino man. The driver of the Lexus was pronounced dead at the scene. His name was not released. The BMW driver was unhurt.

Last year, only one traffic-related fatality was reported in Los Angeles County during the first 36 hours of Labor Day weekend, according to the CHP. Statewide, the CHP has reported six fatalities so far, compared with eight last year.

In Los Angeles County, 227 people have been arrested on suspicion of drunk driving, up from 209 last year, while statewide, the CHP has arrested 1,008 motorists on that charge, compared with 990 last year.

Traffic-related incidents so far this weekend are also higher than the July 4 and Memorial Day numbers this year, authorities said.

“There was a somewhat downward trend, and we were hopeful that would still be the case because people had gotten the message about safe driving,” said CHP Officer Ming Hsu. “Unfortunately, the numbers we have for this period are spiking.”

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-- Carla Rivera

 
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